Paul Riley’s Full Practice Comments, Including Shim Update

Thorns head coach Paul Riley spoke after practice today about the team’s performance in Houston on Wednesday. He also looked ahead to having new players coming and injured players like Alex Morgan and Rachel Van Hollebeke back. The thing to note here is that Riley put a date on when “Everyone” (except Heath) should be here and available for selection, which is June 7th against Western NY.

June 7th is exactly 4 weeks from today. It is unclear if Morgan and Van Hollebeke, who both participated in practice today (Morgan more so than Van Hollebeke), will be back before then. But it is clear that by June 7th, everyone except Tobin Heath should be with the team. That includes Steph Catley and Vero. Exciting stuff.

Riley also gave an update on Mana Shim (starts around 9:33 mark) and how she has been progressing, as well as what he sees her role as for this season. I know that this is something that many of you have been interested in. Probably the most interesting part about it to me is that he says that he is confident in starting her if needed, but that they see her role as a sort of “Super Sub”. Think Danielle Foxhoven from last year.

Who Will Win This July 27th Matchup, Portland or Seattle?

View Results

Lots of interesting information in today’s comments. What stood out to you? I would love to read your thoughts and comments on this below, so leave a comment and lets discuss!


You May Like This

  • Lorehead

    Vero Boquete’s season for Tyresö will be over after the Champions’ League final on May 22. Catley is playing for her national team (as are Sam Kerr of WNY and Nahomi Kawasumi of Seattle) in the Women’s Asian Cup, whose final is on May 25. Glad to see that Van Hollebeke and Morgan are recovering well!

    ETA: I’m not sure when PSG will release Heath, but the final game of its season is June 1, and the team is also in the Coupe de France final on June 7.

    • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

      Agreed. These will be the last 3-4 weeks without the full team here. I am thinking if the Thorns can make it without a loss in these next 3-4 games we will be in great shape to close out the season with our stars on the pitch.

      • Lorehead

        The other thing to keep in mind is that, in that span of time, Portland and WNY play each other twice. The Flash will also play Seattle, and Seattle will also play KC.

        Those games will leave at most two teams with a realistic chance to win the shield and home-court advantage through the playoffs. If Portland sweeps its next four games, it will beat Seattle’s current point total—but it will also take six points from WNY, effectively knocking it out of the race, and it would need help from WNY and KC to make up more than three points. If WNY can beat Portland twice and Seattle, it will be in or close to the lead, but Portland will be more than a dozen points out of second place, with no more head-to-head games against the leader left. If Portland and WNY split, or better yet for Seattle, draw all their games, they’ll at least lose their games in hand with no points to show for them.

        I of course want Portland to beat Seattle and win the title at home, but from a more neutral perspective: halfway through the season, if it’s clear who’ll come in first, and which two teams will play in the other semifinal, there will be nothing to play for in the rest of the regular season but the fourth postseason spot. That was not good for WPS in 2010 or 2011.

  • jmclarke

    Riley: “I think I lost $100 in the swear box at halftime.” One of us.

    • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

      haha, we need to get him in with the TA during one of the Timbers matches…

  • tonysocref

    I’m sorry, but I just lost a lot of respect for Riley today. To me it was very unprofessional for him to make the comment he did on Mana. What he said was something that should have stayed internal, not out to the general public unless Mana herself had opened it up. My 2 cents.

    • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

      Which part? or all of it?

      • tonysocref

        Mainly about her attitude. This was something that should have stayed between her, management and possibility the team.

        • Portland

          I completely agree. Was he the person that left her unprotected during the draft? It was very clear Merritt Paulson wanted her back and I think Merritt overruled anything the coaching staff had to say. I truly believe Riley looked like a fool and it left a bitter taste in his mouth for mana when he saw how the fans and owner reacted to the trade. I wish he could just say “I don’t like her” instead doing the evasive dance cause he looks like an amateur coach playing the favoritism card. This isn’t about who likes who, we want to win and his coaching (or lack thereof) is beginning to frustrate me. EVERYONE can see she should be starting.

          • you’re funny

            i can understand why they left her unprotected, they wanted to keep RVH. we had to give up two quality players to prevent losing RVH. The paulson/wilikson wanting them back theory could have some truth to it, paulson even hinted that he was going to get her back. I find it hard to believe that riley would look at shim’s production from last year and not consider her valuable.
            riley does prefer his own players, he gave up draft picks to get former players he coached, and the picks he used were on his former players (i think sullivan also was coached by riley). we will see if he stays true to his tune and uses shim as a (offensive) sub once the full squad arrives. i think that will tell us how he truly feels about her as a player.

          • tonysocref

            The keeping of RVH would be true except for the fact RVH was also unprotected. If the Dash wanted her, they would have taken her before they selected Mana.

          • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

            Not true, if they had picked RVH they ONLY would have been able to take her from the Thorns. So it was Shim and Edwards or RVH. They obviously chose Shim & Edwards.

          • you’re funny

            RVH was left unprotected because they could only protect two uswnt players. they chose to protect heath and morgan

          • Portland

            Regardless, I think he’s got an issue with Shim. I honestly think it has nothing to do with her playing ability….just his head up his you-know-what. It’s a shame too because Meleana is capable of Olympic, World Cup status. I’ve seen the girl play. She’s ridiculously good. Natural talent on the ball and she’s very intuitive when it comes to ball placement. My respect and hope for Riley is gone.

          • you’re funny

            I agree that riley isn’t high on shim. While i agree that her technical play is second to our national teamers, she lacks the size and athleticism that the USWNT (this is not my opinion, i am a big fan of shim) seem to want in all their players. it seems riley has the same school of thinking as he seems to play players who are more fit and bigger over players who are skilled (farrlley and kerr). we will see if riley uses shim as a sub like he claimed in the interview above. as skilled as shim is i don’t think she is going to beat our vero or heath. it is possible she could start in place of long if her form drops, but she has been carrying the team.
            people didn’t like CPC but she still brought us a championship

  • dt

    How do you see the final lineup look like by the time everyone gets back? I’m assuming Catley would eventually take the starting job from Niemiec and Marshall goes back to right back with Menges and RVH at the center.

    The only explanation for Shim not starting is she probably isn’t going to start when everyone gets here so I guess Riley is preparing her to play the super sub role. I do expect Vero and Tobin to replace Kerr and Farrelly when they get here.

    The forwards is obvious: Morgan replaces McDonald.

    Its going to be difficult to decide who to cut by the time everyone arrives.

    • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

      Catley, Van Hollebeke, Marshall, Menges – Brooks, Heath, Vero, Long – Morgan, Sincalir – I would almost bet on that lineup to start once everyone is here and acclimated.

      • tonysocref

        If they continue to play the way they have been, I would say Niemiec or Tarr over Menges.

      • you’re funny

        what do you think the line up would be in june until heath arrives. do you think he will play farrley, kerr or shim?

    • guest

      The notion is absurd that he would bench a player like Morgan in favor of McDonald who has played above herself this year for sure but is still too inconsistent, does not have a smart run in her and gives the ball a way a tad too much.. If he plans on starting Vero day one over any player who has been here from day one than he needs to start Morgan period when she is ready. The finishing is lacking and I don’t care how many chances there are. It doesn’t matter if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net. Yes there were plenty of chances in the Seattle game but the team still lost because they didn’t capitalize. The team needs the best finishers out on the field and I think Morgan’s presence will take some of the pressure off of Sinclair. Also Shim as looked good whenever she’s come on much more than SF and I like Kerr but she doesn’t get back to help out on defense and can be too slow at times.

      • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

        I don’t think he was saying that Morgan would be benched for McDonald. What is more likely is that he plays three up top and drops one of the defenders, likely Menges.

        • guest

          I don’t think that will work because I predict McDonald would only clog up the box where Sinclair and Morgan need to work. She is a bit clumsy in that area although she has been able to poach a view goals there. It’s pretty clear that her and Sinclair don’t have good communication with each other because there has been several games where McDonald has intercepted a pass meant for Christine and they both crashed into each other going for the header. I just don’t think it will work. Not disrespect but McDonald is a poor man’s Morgan with less speed, less vision and less technical ability and no ability to help out on defense.

        • guest

          I would be okay with them splitting time until Morgan can go a full 90. Let Jess have the first 45 minutes to tire the defense and bring in Morgan for the last 45 minutes to build on any lead, score if behind or help the defense.

  • Guest

    At the end of the video he asks if Mana is a better option than Farrelly and Angie Kerr and I would say yes she is. Neither Farrelly or Kerr have been all that impressive and saying Farrelly’s play has been outstanding or whatever he labeled it as is crazy. She has been invisible. To me it seems like a case of favoritism with Farrelly. Her play should have shown her to the bench by now. We can only hope that when Vero comes in that is what happens.

  • JW

    I think Riley has fallen under the trap of a coach who rewards good practice form with playing time and sometimes that just doesn’t work. I’m not saying to reward anyone who slacks off at practice what I mean is that some players don’t show as much in practice but are exceptional in games whereas some are practice standouts but it does not translate to the actual game. I think this is what is going on with Sinead and few others who show well in practice yet don’t do well in games. Riley needs to take a hard look at game performance and make the tough choices even with his former players for the betterment of the team.

    • jmclarke

      Thing I remember from last year is that Shim and Morgan made a great pair, sum greater than the parts. Heath and Sinclair had sort of the same thing happening, which everyone seemed to pick up on from the first pass they connected. In the absence of Heath, I think Kerr has the same kind of synergy with Sinclair — it’s not enough of a boost to make her a top-five world midfielder, but that particular pairing makes her better than she is in isolation. Kerr and Long have got a bit of it too, although that only seems to come out when their backs are too the wall. I’ve only seen the handful of games this year with the new back line, but DAMN! Angerer, Marshall, & the college kids are all playing out of their minds! (It’s like there is some bubble of german charisma that transforms everything that enters it.) Brooks, Moros & the moms are still new to me as well and so I can’t lay out specific pairings with any certainty, but I don’t worry about them as I can see them looking for it themselves — and Brooks seems like the type that will always add to plus one with just about anyone. Farrelly is the one that remains a mystery to me; I am not sensing a real on field pairing for her… like she’s out there on her own among other units that are trying to fit together, the piece of the puzzle that doesn’t match up.

  • you’re funny

    FWIW i think the super sub role is a good role for shim once the full team arrives, she can replace long or someone in the back if they are looking for goals (although riley could also play mcdonald). however, i do believe that she should be starting when our squad isn’t at full strength. even in her limited minutes i think she has influenced the game better than kerr and farrlley.

    • you’re funny

      also thank you for posting the interview and article! you’ve done a great job covering the thorns this season!

  • tonysocref

    Now comes the $1,000,000 question. Since we don’t have a Reserve Squad and barring any season ending injuries, who do you see being released come the middle of June when all of our players are available? Per NWSL Roster rules we can only have 18 – 20 active players on the roster.(This type of situation is why there is a push to increase roster size). Subject to change, I’m guessing Sullivan and Acevedo. There could be some unknown reasons that haven’t been divulged, but these 2 only have 16 minutes of playing time combined.

    • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

      Yeah, That is a tough one. I am thinking Maybe Acevedo and Kerr. Once everyone is here the Midfield will be overloaded with players. Someone has to go, and my guess is Kerr is the odd woman out. Part of the reason I don’t see them dropping Sullivan is that she is a rookie that Riley likes and thinks they can develop. Would seem counter productive to drop her, unless they no longer feel that way.

      • you’re funny

        once reason to keep Acevedo is because her salary is paid for by the mexican federation. I imagine they have quite a bit of cap tied up in their internantionals and could use any help they can get.
        i didn’t know that riley was high on sullivan and thought she would be one of the odd girls out. is it possible to keep players around as “practice players” and develop them? I know the players will go through waivers, but assuming they clear waivers is there anything stopping portland from doing that?
        If kerr gets cut that would be surprising, just because she is a starter. maybe we could test the market and see if we could get a draft pick for her

        • Lorehead

          Also, the Mexican federation is mad enough that it paid for its players to sit on the bench on most teams last year (although not in Portland, where it never sent them in the first place).

  • Portland

    Paul Riley is a moron! Who puts mana shim in in the 89th minute?!?!

  • justsomeguy

    kerr>mana shim

  • justafan

    Maybe Mana just isn’t as good as we thought she was last season. Those 5 goals in the run of play were flukes. Thorns Rookie of the Year?? Put her in at 90′….that’ll show her, Riley. Any player or coach knows what that means, especially after the BS comments he’s made in the media about her attitude and work ethic. It’s a big FU in her face, in front of everyone. All I have to say is, karma can be a real b*tch, Riley. Shim is 22. I think her shelf life might just outlast yours.

  • David Mainz

    I’ve listened to your interview with Riley a number of times now and feel:

    Unless Mana loves Portland, her Thorns teammates and sitting on the bench during matches over playing professional soccer she’s going to have to leave Portland ASAP. Any hope of Mana playing more then a few minutes at the end of a game or getting the National team looking at her for a possible tap on the shoulder is most likely over for this season.

    With Riley’s new Thorns re-built team almost on board, but still needing some team practice time, its like handwriting on the wall that Mana is there only to help his chosen players practice against someone.

    I think it would be more correct to say Riley’s attitude is to play his favorites over him saying Mana had an attitude in the beginning of the season during practices.

    Where Riley is considering Mana a super-sub, Mana could have been a super-star playing for the Houston Dash.

    I’m really hoping I’m reading Riley wrong, but with only a few more games until all his chosen are on board lets see if Mana picks up some quality playing time. Otherwise – Run Mana Run.

    • justafan

      A lot less angry than my earlier post, and well said. I do think Riley’s persistence at starting Sinead despite her having relatively little impact on the field speaks more about his attitude than anything. PR cares more about his own brand and ego than putting the best 11 on the pitch. Unfortunately for him, he has surrounded himself with “yes men” so can’t and won’t see it. And unfortunately for Portland, they might lose a passionate, young, smart and very talented midfielder because of it.